Direct Marketing, no matter what you hear around the water cooler, is not a dead medium. . . not by a long shot. Like all other mediums out there, it has it’s place and should not be over used, but given the right audience, message and product, direct marketing can be as powerful an ally as any marketing method used today.
Direct marketing has many definitions, but the one by Wikipedia is as solid and useful as any other.
When deciding whether to use Direct Marketing, developing an offer with a strong call to action and understanding what you want to measure and developing strategy for tracking IN THE BEGINNING is crucial to the success of any program. Whether you are developing a paper based campaign, one online or a combination of both (what I recommend) it is important to first realize what your end goal is and work backwards from there.
The next thing to consider is data. What do you know about your audience. Years ago, I had a client that was a regional casino in Washington State. When they brought me in to look at their data, I nearly fell off my chair jumping up and down with excitement. Nearly fifteen years ago they had data down to the person on when they came to the casino, who they came with, how long they played, how much they won and lost, how long the played particular games, dates of birth and all sorts of demographic information.
We immediately created a variable direct mail campaign that went out monthly to 50000 people. Each person got a birthday offer for the casino that was in line with what they played and how much they spent. Everyone got a free lunch if they brought a friend, including cake and if you were a large gambler, you might get $100.00 in free chips and if you were a small player, you might get $10.00. Response rates were 40% + on a monthly basis for nearly three years running this program and they ALWAYS made money off the people who came. Stats showed that these people stayed longer at the casino, brought more friends with them and returned sooner after their birthday visit. It was all about creating an offer that was catered to the individual client and being able to measure that response accurately.
On the other hand, many a campaign has failed due to lack of planning. Too many companies but out reactive campaigns. My competitor is offering “X” so I need to offer “Y”. There is no science behind it, messaging is not targeted properly and there is no way of measuring whether the campaign was successful or not. A properly planned campaign would realize the strengths and weaknesses of a direct competitor and target the audience accordingly. An example that I have hear of worked like this. . . Brand “X” car dealer acquired a list of leases coming due for people owning cars from Brand “Y”. A direct mail campaign was designed where you got a personalized direct mail piece that had a picture of the newer comparable model in the same colour as you owned but from Brand “X”. Campaign had a phone number on the piece where you could take advantage of a lease buyout program and low financing rates if you ACTED NOW!!!!! The response was huge. It was a costly campaign and very risky, but the risk paid off and Brand “X” was able to move a large following towards their brand simply by understanding the underlying wants and needs of their target audience. (caveat: I was not involved in this campaign in any way)
Earlier this year, a friend of mine wrote this blog post on “Dos and Don’ts of Direct Marketing”. I have copied it in it’s entirety into my blog as I thought it is worth reading over and over again.
Now if you have read all of this and think, okay, I get it. . . but what about the next tech savvy generation? Well, here is a White Paper on direct mail and Generation Y that I think you will find interesting.
To conclude, direct marketing does have it’s place in today’s marketing plans. It has to be targeted to a specific audience with offers that relate specifically to them and those offers need to be measurable in terms of what you want the success of the campaign to be.
Let us work with you to develop direct mail campaigns that will serve as Tangible Evidence for your BRAND and Get YOU Noticed!